Portland’s Striking Strippers Demand Union Recognition

Portland – The strippers of Portland’s Magic Tavern informed their employer on June 1 they are forming a union and asked that Actors’ Equity Association be recognized as their bargaining representatives. These dancers have been on strike since April 4 due to the unsafe working conditions at the club. When these workers first brought their concerns to management, rather than remedying the situation, the employers retaliated and fired five dancers for daring to attempt to improve their working conditions. The strippers have been on strike ever since, and the club remains an abnormally unsafe place to work.

“When Magic Tavern opened in November, we were told by management to come to them with any concerns as they wanted to create a safe, equitable club. Instead, we were subjected to dangerous working conditions and a lack of professionalism from the owner and staff members,” said Daphne, a Magic Tavern dancer. “We love our jobs, and we're good at what we do. Sex work is work, and as workers we deserve to be treated with respect. We are unionizing to demand that respect and ensure we can go to work every day ensured of both safety and dignity.”

Actors’ Equity Association is the national union of actors and stage managers working in live entertainment that recently made headlines for successfully winning a union for the strippers of Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood, CA. Magic Tavern has been operating as a strip club at 2460 NW 24th Ave. in Portland since November, 2022.

“We’ve already demonstrated in Los Angeles that strippers who want a union not only deserve one, but can win one,” said Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle. “The dancers at Magic Tavern have made it clear that they will not put up with a dangerous workplace. In fact, when I first heard about the issues that compelled them to strike, I audibly gasped. No worker should have to choose between their safety and their job. Their boldness in sticking up for themselves and their tenacity in holding to what they know is right is going to get them union recognition and a contract worthy of their labor.”

The dancers are planning a public picket and rally in front of the club on Sunday, June 11 at 3:00 p.m. Supporters are invited to join them in solidarity and hear directly from the strippers and their supporters about their working conditions and their vision for a unionized club.

For more information about Actors’ Equity Association please visit: www.actorsequity.org. Anyone who works on the live stage as an actor, stage manager or stripper and is interested in organizing a union, please see www.actorsequity.org/organize to begin a conversation with an Equity organizer.

** For additional information, please refer to this list of suggestions for terminology to use and avoid when writing about the unionizing strippers of Magic Tavern.

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. www.actorsequity.org  #EquityWorks  

June 6, 2023